Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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A Fried Chicken Fourth

Can you believe summer’s already a third gone? (Thank heaven!) Today’s July 1. (I checked my calendar.) It’s 4th of July this next Wednesday.

4th OF JULY. I love the idea of a day off in the middle of the week, but it’s not really a day off. We have a family tradition that I can’t escape. (Not that I want to.)

I fry chicken every year on the 4th. It’s good stuff if I do say so myself. (Aunt Phyllis, Mama and Grandmother all taught me how.) Here’s how.

Years ago, when the boys were all still small, we decided to go to OKC for the 4th and take a picnic, so I fried chicken. We went to a military park near the OKC Zoo. The kids had a great time, running around, playing army and getting in and out of the equipment.

I loved it. My kids couldn’t tear up military equipment, so I didn’t have to stay right on top of them. 😛 With three rambunctious boys, that’s a blessing!

After lunch, we visited the 45th Infantry Division Museum. G-Man loved it, I kind of enjoyed it, and the boys were bored. Remember I said we had rambunctious boys? We didn’t stay long.

The zoo was great, though. Zoo’s are built for buffalo and elephants, so kids can’t hurt them too much. All we had to worry about was the boys getting lost or climbing into cages. Thankfully, they didn’t.

Unless I have zoo confusion, they had a great aquatic show with dolphins. We loved it!

This 4th, I’ll be frying chicken again. I dream of S’mores every year, but don’t get around to preparing for it. Maybe Mama’s Icecream. 🙂 Here’s the link to the best homemade icecream recipe in my world. (Any flavor you want as long as it’s vanilla.)

Most of my kiddos will be here, which is the best part of that holiday for me now that they’re all grown up and I don’t have to worry about where they are and what they’re doing every second. With all the wives here to help, the holiday has become a joy!

And if I’m really lucky, we’ll have fireworks.

How do you celebrate our country’s independence?


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The Deceptive Month

I hope everyone whose birthday is this month will forgive me but . . .

Did you ever notice what a sneaky month May is? If you think about it, you’ll probably agree with me that it’s one of the most underhanded months on the calendar.

First the name–May. Three short letters intended, I’m sure, to make us believe it’s going to be a quick month. Ha! There are thirty-one days in this month. And as many weeks as a month can possibly crowd in.

There’s so much that goes on in May, creating so many emotions that hammer us. There’s Mother’s Day, when even rotten kids do something nice and bring sweet tears to their mama’s eye. Or their aunt’s, depending on the kiddo. 😉

Then there’s graduation–which can bring joy or sorrow, also depending on the kiddo– birthdays, anniversaries, the end of school, the beginning of summer, vacations, Memorial Day. Weddings, weddings, weddings and, of course, so many funerals.

May’s days are warmer and longer, intended to deceive us into thinking we’re going to be able to kick back, climb into a hammock and swing away summertime, ♫ when the living is easy♫.

But then grass jumps up and everything starts growing and creeping around and we have to work harder than ever, just to beat it back.

May gives us flowers as if she’s trying to be sweet and friendly and niiiiiice. But remember when the most destructive (in my memory) tornados happened. May 3, 1999 and May 22, 2011!

The year my second son was born, we slept under the stairs more nights in May than we slept in our beds. (Under the stairs is where we hid from tornados.)

We even saw on the news where a wedding in Kansas had a tornado for an uninvited guest. Only in May!

I think I’ll start a movement to change the name of May to Might. Think about it–Might says it all. It’s longer, so no deception there, and it tells you that all kinds of things could happen. Good and bad. Happy and very, very sad.

May MIGHT be a good month, then again, it MIGHT not, so why don’t we just get it over with and call it that from the get-go?

Might 23, 2012. Has a very nice ring to it. 🙂

 

 


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A Ring Thing

This started out to be a post called We Nailed It.

Warning: What you’re about to see maybe disturbing. Look at your own risk.

The foot in the blue sandal is a human foot on a live person. The odd color (paleness) caused by a lack of sunshine. People with this malady can be mistaken for walking snowmen. Do not let this happen to you.

But I forgot to take pictures of all the fun we had.

So I started to take a few this morning to share. You know, Show-And-Tell?

I snapped my toes.

And I snapped my fingers.

And that’s when I noticed what I really wanted to blog about.

The rings I wear. I sleep in them, swim in them, do everything I do in them. (Except get manicures. I take them off for that.)

The larger one is the one my man put on my finger during our wedding. He has one just like it, just a few sizes bigger.

The smaller one was my mama’s. Daddy gave it to her during their wedding. She was eighteen years old. He was nineteen.

 I’ll have worn it for twenty-one years on May 20 this year.

I don’t wear her ring as a protest against drunk driving. And I don’t wear it because its gold or old.

 I wear it to remind me of a couple of kids who got married and started raising a family two years later. Who named their first daughter after a pair of basketball shoes.

Who loved each other so much, worked together so well and had such a perfect marriage, all of their children have turned themselves inside out to emulate it.

I look at her ring and remember the first year we lived in Pryor Creek. Brad’s birthday party was going to flop, and on short notice, Mama gathered up the C-Town grandchildren and an armload of gifts and rushed to be there in time to cheer after he blew out his candles.

I remember the first year I was married and she dreamed I ran away from home. In her dream, she took my man to live with her and Dad.

I remember Mother’s Day weekend twenty-one years ago. I took the kids home to be with her, and she stopped everything to fish with my boys and the rest of the C-Town grandkids.

I look at her ring, and I remember the mother-in-law, the grandmommy, the friend, wife and mother I want to be.

  Mama won’t be at Brad’s wedding, but her spirit will be there in each of her children. And her grandchildren. And her great-grandchildren.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:28-31 NIV


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CELEBRATIONS IN ORDER!

Know what today is?

NATIONAL CHILI DAY!!!

Okay, I have to admit, it’s doesn’t rank up there with Valentine’s Day, but hey, it’s CHILI! And at least one of my sons makes award-winning chili. If a man does the cooking and I don’t have to, that makes me celebrate!

It’s also National Chocolate Covered Nut Day. And National Pistol Patent Day. I really think we should party.

Of course, this month we’ve already missed National Serpent Day

and National Weatherman’s Day. 😦

But not to worry. In just a few days we can celebrate Leap Day.

You know about Leap Day, right? It’s the day St. Bridget talked St. Patrick into letting allowing women to propose to men instead of just the other way around. (1 day every four years. That’s fair.) It’s also known as Bachelors Day. A man who was proposed to and turned the woman down had to pay a penalty of a gown or money to the woman he wouldn’t marry.

Babies born on Leap Day are called Leaplings or Leapers.

Leap Day is also St. Oswald’s Day. (If you have information about St. Ossie, let  me know.)

Did you know:

  • Superman was a Leap Day baby? In 1988, Superman celebrated his 50th birthday!  
  • Leap Day isn’t the same as Sadie Hawkins Day.
  • The Leap Day symbol is a frog or toad?
  • The official Leap Day game is Leap Frog?

But that’s in a few days. Today’s National Chili Day. Make a batch and share.

Tomorrow celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

Monday we can all dance! It’s No Brainer Day.

Live happy. Find reason each day and CELEBRATE!!!

 


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Three F’s

For as long as I can remember, Grandmother and Granddad had their family over for Christmas Eve. We’d eat homemade candy, desserts and goodies and open the gift the G’s had for us. Then we’d watch while they open our gifts.

After they were gone, that tradition had to change. It was decided that we’d combine the office Christmas party and the family party. Since much of the family is part of the business, that makes a lot of sense.

This year, we got together again. And, no surprise, we had a great time. (At least I did.)

 This is the pair who does all the planning and worrying, and they send out the invitations. (And we haven’t been disappointed yet!)

The food is always DELICIOUS. (And we’ve been a bunch of places over the years.)

And this was to keep us from starving BEFORE we got our steaks. (Talk about yum!)

 We get to visit with people we love and don’t get to see often enough. And we get to wear our Christmas sweaters. There’s never enough Christmas sweater time.

Everybody who possibly can makes it a point to be there.

Young , , ,

And not quite as young. (Except at heart.)

We have fun

Fun!

 FUN!

Food, Fun and Family. What could be better than that?


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Old Ford Christmas Story

Dad has a favorite story he tells nearly every Christmas. I’ve heard it twice this year, and love it! I hope he tells it another time or two before the season is over.

My dad grew up in Old Ford and he lives there today. (Nearly all his kids moved back to C-Town, and he packed up and moved away. LOL)

When he was in grade school one year during the depression, I believe he said third grade, they drew names for their Christmas party.

Dad said he drew a girl’s name, and he was not thrilled. The teacher told them they couldn’t spend more than a quarter on the present, but they needed to bring it to the class Christmas party.

So Grandmother gave him a quarter and sent him to Old Ford’s Mercantile. (This was back in the day when it was safe to send your eight year old to the store all alone.)

Now the Mercantile was an interesting place. If I remember right, he said the Mercantile was built around the bank. Imagine a huge store with one corner taken up with another business–the bank. There was an entrance on the south and one on the east (main street). One side had groceries and one side had hardware and housewares, etc.

So Dad looked and looked and looked, trying to decide what to give the little girl. A little girl didn’t play with a top or a yo-yo back then. What should he get her?

Finally, he decided on a vase. Yes, you read that right. A fifteen cent vase for an eight-year-old girl. I always laugh out loud when he gets to that part.

The Vase! (Thanks Sister Cindy.)

He usually talks about how this little girl was polite when she opened the present, but he didn’t remember any squeals of joy when she opened it.

Now fast forward thirty for forty years. He walks into Sister Cindy’s house one day, and on her shelf sits . . . The Vase. He couldn’t believe his eyes. How in the world did Cindy get it?

Looking back over the years, he always figured the little girl had thrown it away or at least broken it. (Or maybe taken it back and traded it for a doll.)

“Where did you get this?”

“Bruce’s mother gave it to me.” Cindy answered. “She got it–”

“In third grade at the class Christmas party,” Dad finished for her. “I gave it to her.”

“Really?” Cindy was surprised. “She thought Don Holmes gave it to her.”

That makes me laugh, too, although I’ve never known Mr. Holmes. (There’s another funny story there, but I’ll save it for another time.)

So you never really know how much your gift is going to mean to a person. Or if they’ll learn to like it more as the years go by.

Funny thing is, if I’d given that little boy advice, I would have suggested a necklace or music box. Never in a thousand years would I suggest a vase. But she probably would have a necklace after all these years.

And I wouldn’t get to tell share Dad’s story.


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The Reason

I finally got one of our Christmas trees decorated. It’s the tree I put the kitchen sink on.

You know what I mean. This is the one with ornaments friends have given me, kids made me, ones that weren’t really ornaments but I hang them on the tree anyway.

Oh, wait. I have those on both my trees. 😉

Anyway, when I’m decorating this tree (it takes over one end of the family room) I do a lot of praying. I pray for my kids and their spouses as I hang the ornaments that have pictures of them as kids and the ones they made me when they were little.

I have a bell that one of my friends gave everyone at her wedding several years ago that hangs there, so I pray for her, her husband and her two kids.

Gorgeous ornaments I’ve scored playing Dirty Santa at the RWI party each year give me several spunky ladies to pray for. (And sometimes I pray for the ones I stole them from. 🙂 )

I have one from a very special secret sister who passed away the week before my youngest son was born, so I pray for her family when I put it on the tree.

I pray for G-Man when I hang something from a package he gave me, and I pray for my walking buddy when I hang Santa’s underwear. (She swiped them from him.)

I have a sparkly N’awlins mask my friend Marilyn made me one year, so she gets prayed over.

And I have a gorgeous hand made ornament my friend who went through hip replacement before I did. She was so encouraging to me, she gets a pile of “bless hers”.

I have a beautiful dove Sweet Shirley made everyone in the office. Blessings on her, too.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t stop, get on my knees and spend hours praying for each of these people. I just ask the Lord to bless them as I work. And I think about the joy they’ve given me over the years. (And years and, in come cases, YEARS!)

And since no one volunteers to help me put the ornaments on the tree (or take them off) I have lots of quiet time to pray.

He’s the one I should be talking to when I decorate my tree, anyway, right?

After all, He’s the Reason for the Season.